The Mid-America Christian University women’s basketball team claimed its first-ever NCCAA Division I national championship title March 17 with a 71-60 win over the Concordia University (Mich.) Cardinals.
“I am so proud of the young ladies in our program,” said head coach Hannah Moeller. “One of the things we say a lot is ‘starting committed is really easy, but staying committed is really hard.’ To see the group of girls in that locker room stay committed to each other, to our staff and to a relentless desire to improve all year is such a testament to the overall character and toughness of our group.”
The Evangels first moved to the DI level in 2007.
After a slow start, MACU dominated the second half of the championship game. Senior guard Chelseah Savage led all scorers with 19 points, and was named Player of the Tournament. Freshman forward Ossyana Ozoani posted a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds, securing a place on the All-Tournament Team.
Other standout players included sophomore guard Nevada Denton with 12 points, and sophomore guard Jessica Fairley with 11 points.
After the 71-60 victory, Moeller was named NCCAA Division I National Coach of the Year. She said her assistant coaches, Kelsie Dutton and Brooke Davidson, deserved as much credit.
“I am beyond grateful for how Kelsie and Brooke have committed their lives to serving our program and the young women we’re fortunate enough to coach,” Moeller said. “We couldn’t have been more prepared for the tournament. They did a tremendous job preparing our team for each game.”
The national title win marked the end of Savage and fellow senior Brittany Thompson’s collegiate careers. Moeller said their leadership played a big role in developing the Evangels into a title contender.
“We’re so grateful to have two seniors who led so unselfishly and gave our program their best every day,” she said. “They’re very different in how they lead, but they are two of the best leaders I’ve been around. Winning the national championship is a direct result of their leadership and how they have served their teammates all year.”
MACU finished the season with a record of 24-11.